Stage 14, 2010 Vuelta a España, David Garcia
Garcia on the attack on stage 14 of the 2010 Vuelta

MADRID, Spain (AFP) — Spanish cyclist David Garcia has been handed a two-year doping ban following his positive test at the last Tour of Spain, the Spanish Cycling Federation said Thursday.

Garcia, who finished in 11th place competing with the Xacobeo team at LaVuelta, took the in-competition test on September 13 after which the Madrid laboratory analysing his sample detected banned blood booster EPO.

The World Anti-Doping Agency-accredited laboratory in Madrid indicated an adverse analytical finding of EPO and found the racer had tested positive for another prohibited substance, Hydroxyethyl Starch (HES), based on samples taken on September 16 in Cologne, Germany.

HES is known to improve the blood circulation, but it also helps to mask the use of blood boosting substances such as EPO (erythropoietin) by reducing the levels of red blood cells, known as haematocrit.

Findings of HES masking agent do not warrant an immediate provisional suspension, while performance-enhancing EPO does.